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Open Access Research article

Phase 1, placebo-controlled, dose escalation trial of chicory root extract in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee

Nancy J Olsen13*, Valerie K Branch1, Geetha Jonnala1, Mira Seskar2 and Melisa Cooper2

Author Affiliations

1 Rheumatic Diseases Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas TX 75390 USA

2 Phytomedics, Inc., 1085 Cranbury South River Road Suite #8, Jamesburg NJ 08831 USA

3 Division of Rheumatology, 500 University Drive, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey PA 17033 USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010, 11:156  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-156

Published: 9 July 2010



Extracts of chicory root have anti-inflammatory properties in vitro and in animal models of arthritis. The primary objective of this investigator-initiated, Phase 1, placebo-controlled, double blind, dose-escalating trial was to determine the safety and tolerability of a proprietary bioactive extract of chicory root in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). Secondary objectives were to assess effects on the signs and symptoms of this disorder.


Individuals greater than 50 years of age with OA of the hip or knee were eligible for trial entry. A total of 40 patients were enrolled in 3 cohorts and were treated with escalating chicory doses of 600 mg/day, 1200 mg/day and 1800 mg/day for 1 month. The ratio of active treatment to placebo was 5:3 in cohorts 1 and 2 (8 patients) each and 16:8 in cohort 3 (24 patients). Safety evaluations included measurement of vital signs and routine lab tests at baseline and the end of the treatment period. Efficacy evaluations at baseline and final visits included self-assessment questionnaires and measurement of the 25-foot walking time.


In the highest dose cohort, 18 patients who completed treatment per protocol were analyzed for efficacy. In this group, 13 patients showed at least 20% improvement in the defined response domains of pain, stiffness and global assessment: 9 of 10 (90%) patients randomized to active treatment with chicory and 4 of 8 (50%) patients randomized to placebo (P = 0.06). In general, the treatment was well-tolerated. Only one patient who was treated with the highest dose of chicory had to discontinue treatment due to an adverse event.


The results of this pilot study suggest that a proprietary bioactive extract of chicory root has a potential role in the management of OA and merits further investigation. identifier: NCT 01010919.